Barnum and Bailey would turn green with envy at the circus masquerading as an electoral campaign currently in the United States. Smoke and mirrors, manipulation, deceit, negativity and Hollywoodism characterise the charade conducted by the self-styled thespians referring to themselves as candidates.
Notwithstanding the fact that U.S. elections fail miserably to even approach the ideals of a fair, informative and representative electoral system, they obscure the fact that there are a number of other defects that render invalid the characterization of American as democratic.
There are a set of necessary and sufficient ideals to which a political system must at least approximate in order to qualify as a democratic state. They are as follows:
1. Fairly representative elections;
2. Informative elections that result in a clear and realistic understanding of the candidates and political parties;
3. A real, clear and meaningful choice among the parties participating in elections;
4. Elections must be held on a reasonably frequent basis.
5. Each citizen must have virtually equal political power in terms of influencing government decision-making;
6. The decision-making process must enact policies that only serve the public interest and resolve competing interests;
7. Citizens must have an unobstructed and efficacious means of communicating with their elected representatives;
8. The decision-making process must be equitable and inclusive so that no powerful group within the legislative chambers can control the outcome of deliberations;
9. There must be a balance of power between the legislative and executive branches so that neither can thwart the will of the other;
10. The judicial branch must be so constituted that it renders decisions that are free of ideological considerations and bases its decisions exclusively on the constitution and the law;
11. Absolute commitment to the rule of law by all government officials;
12. An informed and participatory electorate;
13. A fair and balanced media.